[media id="107032" align="left"/]New York–style corned beef sandwiches and classic Mediterranean cuisine are both coming to the East 55th Street and South Woodlawn Avenue block this spring.
Hyde Park veteran The Nile Restaurant will be heading westward from its current location on East 55th Street between South Cornell Avenue and South Lake Park Avenue into a currently vacant space next to Starbucks and Woodlawn Tap. Joining the Nile at its new location will be Bergstein’s NY Deli, transitioning its Hyde Park presence from an existing food truck to a full restaurant.
The Nile hopes to open in its new location by June 1, said chef Rashad Moughrabi, whose father opened the restaurant 22 years ago. According to Moughrabi, the move was prompted by a need for renovations to the Nile’s current building, which would have caused the restaurant to close for several months.
Moughrabi was drawn to the University-owned space at 1168 East 55th Street due to its larger size, outdoor patio area and proximity to campus. He felt that due to the Harper Court and 53rd Street development, business in Hyde Park was “moving west of the Metra tracks.”
Moughrabi also hopes the Nile will have a stronger connection to campus by being a place for students to drop in for lunch with an “updated, fun feel” in its new location.
Though the asking price to rent the spaces in the 53rd Street corridor was higher than what Moughrabi felt a small business like The Nile could afford, he was pleased to find his negotiations with the University over the 55th Street space to be a smooth process, saying he felt like the University wants to help small businesses open in their buildings.
Just next door, at 1170 East 55th Street, Bergstein’s NY Deli, another small business, plans to add a second location to its original restaurant in Chicago Heights. According to co-founder Billy Davis, his customers, as well as an employee who lives in the neighborhood, recommended Hyde Park as a good place for business. The recommendation led him to station the food truck in Hyde Park instead of in some of the more high-density areas downtown. After the success of the food truck, Davis thought it was “a natural fit” to expand to a restaurant.
In addition to the sandwiches, soups, and salads on the menu, Davis hopes to recreate the community atmosphere of its Chicago Heights restaurant in its new Hyde Park location. He said community events like open-mic nights have worked well in the suburbs and are being considered for the new location as well.
“We’re not just looking to open just a sandwich shop. We want to become a part of Hyde Park,” Davis added.